The Multi-ID Bathroom: Personalised and mobile convenience
Today’s multi-generational bathroom will be part of a smart home by the year 2034. Already, 60% of Germans want a bathroom that meets the needs and expectations of everybody living in the household. By 2034 modern technology will make this easy to achieve without compromising on individual convenience. As soon as a user enters a bathroom, all elements will adjust automatically to his or her favourite settings - from the room temperature to music and coloured lighting, from the height of the wash basin and toilet bowl to their preferred surfaces such as wood, stone or tiles – all of which can now be projected onto screens with a very high degree of realism.
Another feature of the Multi-ID Bathroom is the variability of the individual fittings and items of furniture. The bathtub doubles as a seating area, the wash basin becomes a make-up studio, and the mirror turns into a news screen. Depending on which user is present in the room at the time, certain elements disappear behind the wall or rise up from the floor. In addition, many fittings will be multifunctional, with the hand shower dispensing not only water but also shampoo, or the shower cabin doubling as a full-body drier, obviating the need for a towel.
The Multi-ID Bathroom offers an additional benefit in that it will also be available in semi-public environments such as hotels or offices. This is because everybody will be able to activate their personal bathroom settings anywhere, immediately feeling at ease even when stepping into a bathroom away from home. This will be made possible by cloud-based technologies, and thanks to the ability of many products to store certain features and settings. Already today F-digital products by Grohe, for instance, give users finger-tip access to their favourite shower temperature or preset water delivery programmes at the wash basin. Touching the pause button suspends the flow of water, perfect for shampooing. Once stored, a setting can be repeated with the utmost precision time and time again.
The Healthness Bathroom: A domestic health centre
The Healthness Bathroom fulfils people’s essential need for health and physical fitness. Almost half of all Germans would like to have a bathroom with health-oriented features. These features will rise to a whole new level by 2034. The bathroom will become a central point of personalised health management, where users actively shape their physical well-being. Various elements installed throughout the bathroom will fulfil monitoring functions, measuring bodily functions and collecting vital data that is then fed back to the user. The toilet can analyse the urine, the toothbrush can collect information from the saliva and even blood readings can be taken in full comfort using non-invasive methods.
“The bathroom of the future becomes a perfect place for health diagnostics - thanks to what I call ‘active digitality’ i.e. the production of data for further use,” says Paul Flowers, Senior Vice President Design of Grohe AG, adding: “The visualisation of health data in the bathroom will play an important role. We have large expanses of glass and ceramics; there are mirrors and other surfaces onto which the information can be projected in the form of icons or plain text messages. Even some kind of audio feedback is imaginable.”
This bathroom will render our health visible and allow everyone to not only check on their health status, but to improve it using fun apps. For example, the bathroom can assume the function of a fitness centre. An on-screen avatar could motivate us to do certain exercises by demonstrating the routines and awarding us digital badges when we accomplish certain goals. Motivational tunes and even cheers will put a virtual personal trainer in our bathroom. In addition, the bathroom’s function as a health centre will be complemented by web-based technologies providing online access to the nearest pharmacy, live chats with doctors and recommendations of the best restaurants for healthy and balanced lunches. The bathroom of the future will assist our personal preventative healthcare efforts at a professional level, helping us to feel fit and healthy for longer.
The Zero Emissions Bathroom: 100 % enjoyment, guilt-free
Whether it is because of cost considerations or out of concern for the environment, 75 % of Germans consider energy savings and energy efficiency important aspects when it comes to bathroom remodelling. With environmental awareness continuing to drive improvements in resource efficiency, bathrooms will have a positive environmental impact by 2034. This means that they will work autonomously and in an energy-neutral way. Engineered as self-contained modules for housing construction, they will no longer depend on connection to the public water and energy networks. “Neo ecology” is already one of the most important mega trends. Sustainability and resource efficiency are a serious topic in public debate already and will be taken for granted in daily life twenty years from now.
The Zero Emissions Bathroom removes the feeling of guilt when using natural resources and energy. It will allow us to take a shower or soak in a whirlpool bath several times a day without placing a burden on the environment. Designed as a small power station in its own right, the bathroom functions as a heat recuperator and water treatment facility, for example by converting waste water into methane which is then used to generate heat. Actual sewage will be minimised by vacuum toilet technology.
This sustainable mindset will also be reflected in bathroom design and decor. From climate-neutral production processes to efficient recycling, the environmental compatibility of products extends throughout their life cycle. Natural materials such as wood and clay will make a big comeback. They are hygienic, non-toxic and compostable, and also ensure a pleasant climate in the room. This trend is already in evidence today, with 63 % of people appreciating natural materials like stone, wood and bio-textiles in the bathroom. By the year 2034, these preferences will lead to a design philosophy that elegantly blends sustainability and luxury, ecology and innovation.
The Selfness Bathroom: Body cleansing meets inner balance
The Selfness Bathroom fulfils the wish of a large majority, some 71 %, of respondents, for a room devoted to relaxation and “me time”. Designed and equipped as a hyper-modern private spa, the bathroom of the year 2034 helps its users replenish their energy levels and achieve a balance between mind, body and soul. This experience is akin to seeing a feature film in a modern 3D theatre. Using audio equipment, mood lighting, aromatherapy and scenic backdrops projected onto the walls, the bathroom takes users on a journey to a different world. Whether it is in the steam bath, on the relaxing lounger or in the hydro massage tub - while your body is being pampered, your mind is free to roam and wander.
Rather than merely providing a place for passive relaxation, the Selfness Bathroom places an emphasis on personal growth through meditative experiences and seeks to leverage the therapeutic effects of virtual realities. The bathroom empowers users to help themselves and prevent burnout, among other things. A variety of digital themes can be selected to convert the room into a yoga studio or a spa lounge and a whole variety of different functions can be programmed to align with users’ bio-rhythms. An en-suite floor plan allows the Selfness Bathroom to extend its healing atmosphere into the bedroom, contributing to restful sleep.
Paul Flowers says: “Time has become an increasingly scarce resource as people tend to work longer hours and have more stressful days at the office or on the road. This is why the bathrooms in their homes play such a special role in their lives. More often than not, it is the only room in the house with an actively-used lock - it is our last refuge within our own four walls. As such the bathroom continues to evolve from a rational and utility-oriented place for hygiene and body care to a more emotional space where we can enjoy “me time”, lock out the outside world, relax and regenerate.”
Already today, F-digital Deluxe modules are available to bathe the shower cabin in coloured light suiting the mood of the moment, fill it with soothing steam and play your favourite tunes. These applications use Bluetooth technology for convenient wireless control via smartphones, iPods and iPads.
Evolution in the bathroom
Just as people’s paths through life are becoming less linear and more multifaceted, the future of the bathrooms cannot simply be predicted along straight lines extrapolated from a variety of present-day trends. This means that the actual bathroom of the future will probably be a hybrid of the bathroom universes outlined above. Multi-functionality will be key as the bathroom adapts to users’ evolving lifestyles and tomorrow’s flowing transition between living and working.